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2006 - 2015

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Affiliated to the Essex Contract Bridge Association and to the English Bridge Union

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: The future management of Mountnessing Bridge Club

This message is specifically directed to current (and prospective) members of Mountnessing Bridge Club

In January 2006, Dorothy and I negotiated the purchase of the rights to Mountnessing Bridge Club from its previous proprietor, Lionel Wernick, and we took over the club in September that year. Our intention at the time was to run the club for about ten years, and then to pass it on as a regular 'community club' . During the past eight years circumstances have evolved and we now consider that it would be more in the interests of the wider club membership if we were to give the assets of the club to its members in the near future, to be managed on their behalf by a voluntary representative management committee, whose members should share the responsibilities and tasks associated with running the club.

One immediate benefit for the club membership concerns the issue of wireless scoring. I have been experimenting with a revolutionary new approach to wireless scoring, that offers vastly better value for money compared with the more traditional schemes, and the experiments show huge promise. The factor that is stopping the further piloting, testing, and subsequent roll-out of this system is that operating it would be something akin to "the straw that breaks the camel's back" if I took it on in addition to all the other current roles of a sole proprietor. With shared club management capacity, that barrier should disappear.

Transition from a proprietor-owned club to a membership-owned club poses some challenges, and I am not expecting it to happen overnight; I envisage a time-scale measured in months rather than weeks. There are three potential change-over days within the year that make some degree of logical sense - the end of the calendar year, the end of the membership year (March 31st), and the end of the club's current accounting year (August 31st (2015)). Though those dates are quite distant, I believe that a start should be made now.

The first and most critical step is to assemble a Shadow Management Committee, whose primary role will be to negotiate transition with me. As I see it, the first task of the shadow committee will be to draw up a provisional Constitution for the newly formatted club; it will set out the way in which the club will be managed into the future. I already have a rough draft, which was based on the model club constitution promoted by the English Bridge Union, so it ought to be a reasonable starting point. Once Transition had been agreed and had taken place, there would of course be a club AGM, at which membership of the Committee would be subject to election.

Incidentally, I have no plans to 'walk away' from the club and I expect to be available to serve as one of the committee members, as needed, for several years to come.

As many members will be aware, I have deep concerns about the decline in both membership numbers and attendance at many of our local clubs, and I passionately believe that the best solution to this issue is to work with other local clubs to acquire some shared, but permanent, premises from which a programme of Bridge tuition and development could be offered alongside regular playing opportunities at all levels, on a similar basis to, for example, the Southend & Leigh Bridge Club. Though progress towards this vision has been painfully slow, it is a vision that I would expect members of the Shadow Committee to support.

I am now therefore seeking expressions of interest from club members who would like to contribute as a member of the Management Committee. Additionally, beyond formal membership of the management committee, it can be envisaged that there are are a number of important specific supporting roles that could be taken on by other club members.

Please let me know, by phone, email, or in person, if you are interested in discussing ways in which you might contribute to the future running of the club. Many thanks for your interest

Alaric Cundy
Club Director
August 20th 2014

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